Posted by Mark J. Miller on May 21, 2012 04:04 PM
Like that smell oozing out of the curry joint you just walked by? Well, if you’re in Thailand, don’t try to replicate it — you may find you're stepping all over somebody’s trademark. The nation's trademark law may soon change, and one of the funkier twists before the Senate for approval would allow businesses to trademark smells and sounds, according to the Bangkok Post.
In order to brademarked, the sounds would need to be “distinctive,” the Post notes. The bill being considered describes it as "a sound that is not directly descriptive of the character or quality of the goods, a natural sound of the products/services or sound arising from the functionality of the products/services." So a BBQ meat joint can’t trademark sizzling meat, for example, although Thai-originated Krating Daeng (you may know it better as Red Bull) could consider trademarking a bull's snort if it wanted a sound associated with its brand.
The U.S. has engaged in audio trademarking for years, of course. The first such sound trademark was given to the distinctive NBC network three-note chime. Others that have been registered include the MGM lion's roar, the Looney Tunes theme song, and Homer Simpson's “D’Oh!”
As for smell trademarks, the smell would also need its own “distinctiveness,” the paper notes. It needs to be a "scent that is not directly descriptive of the character or quality of the goods, a natural scent or scent of goods,” according to the bill under consideration.
Again, the U.S. was the first to offer scent trademarks, with the first going to “sewing thread and yarn,” the Post reports.